President Bush named Gen. Michael V. Hayden as CIA director today in the face of heavy criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats.Josh Bolton was brought in to help improve the relationship between the White House and the congress, it looks like he has failed already. And what about that NSA spying controversy? I can't believe they want to open that up again.
Republican chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence panels raised serious concerns Sunday about Hayden, whose name surfaced for the job immediately after the abrupt resignation of Porter Goss on Friday, with Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) calling him "the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Other Republicans and Democrats, appearing on Sunday talk shows, praised Hayden's credentials but said they, too, are troubled by President Bush's decision to place a military officer at the helm of a civilian intelligence agency. Hayden has defended Bush's domestic eavesdropping program, run by the NSA under Hayden's leadership, since its disclosure in December.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has fought to obtain more information about the program, which he has said he believes is operating outside the law.
Although Hayden is considered to be one of the most popular intelligence briefers on the Hill, Specter has said he has been frustrated by the amount of information Hayden has shared with the committee. As a result, Specter said, confirmation hearings should center on the legality of the program that Hayden designed and ran in secret after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"There is no doubt there's an enormous threat from terrorism, but the president does not have a blank check," Specter said on "Fox News Sunday." "Now, with General Hayden up for confirmation, this will give us an opportunity to try to find out."
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the Senate. The Bush administration has virtually no credibility at a time when the Republicans could lose control of the Senate in November. Bob Novak reported this weekend that Republican National Chairman Kenneth Mehlman has told lawmakers that they must support the President's agenda or they will lose. Will they think he is right? The Rovian administration has built it's power on confrontation. It worked when the administration was popular and had credibility. Will it work now?
With the rumors flying that the Goss firing was related to the Cunningham bribery scandal the administration didn't need even a hint of this.
While director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden contracted the services of a top executive at the company at the center of the Cunningham bribery scandal, according to two former employees of the company.Is this just another indication that the Rovian White House now can't do anything right politically?